When Rosco Allen committed to play for Stanford in October of 2011, the verbal agreement was considered a major coup for Johnny Dawkins. Allen, a 6'9 Hungarian-born forward, played high school ball at the Las Vegas powerhouse Bishop-Gorman and was a consensus four-star recruit who figured to bring court vision and perimeter shooting to Stanford's frontcourt.
Four years later, Allen's impact on Stanford has underwhelmed, in large part due to reasons out of his control. He's endured a litany of injuries in his first three years, including a stress fracture in his sophomore year that limited him to just seven minutes and a medical redshirt during Stanford's Sweet 16 campaign.
Only now, as a fourth-year junior, is Allen coming off his first impact season where he played a vital role in the team's NIT Championship run.
Stanford was one of the best teams in the country to not make the NCAA tournament last year, just missing out after suffering losses in games decided by five points or less on six different occasions.
However, Stanford's team and Allen's role will change drastically this year. Despite averaging just 7.3 points per game last season, Allen is the leading returning scorer for Stanford's suddenly barren squad.
Taking a backseat to the likes of Chasson Randle, Anthony Brown and Stefan Nastic, Allen was responsible for just 16.7% of Stanford's possessions last season. His usage should rise this year with more opportunity. With the team going through somewhat of a transition season, look for Dawkins to turn to Allen as a focal point and facilitator in the offense.
At 6-9, Allen has ample size to play either forward position, both of which he'll likely spend time at as a pro. While he's not the quickest or most explosive athlete around, he's a very fluid and mobile player who can find some success attacking off the dribble and creating for himself and others, particularly in closeout situations.
Outside shooting will be a major component of Allen's success at the pro level. He's been somewhat streaky in this area throughout his career, but was able to knock down 36% of his nearly five 3-point attempts per game last year, which is definitely a move in the right direction for him. 6-9 forwards who can stretch the defense are seriously en vogue in today's NBA, and being a real knockdown 3-point shooter (which he is not at this point) could help his prospects immensely. While his size allows him to get his shot off, Allen's propensity for dipping the ball below his hips upon the catch sometimes negates that advantage. He is far more effective shooting with his feet set (40%, 1.13 PPP--Synergy) than he was off the dribble (19%, 0.375 PPP) last year.
After Allen missed four games in February with an injured back, he returned with a noticeably lower arc on his shot leading to ugly line drives which missed badly. He shot just 21.4% from deep in March and April after shooting 50% in January in February.
Despite standing 6-9, Allen posted a positive assist to turnover ratio last season, which is an indication of his versatility and feel for the game at the combo forward position. He is a solid ball-handler, but needs to become significantly more efficient as a finisher inside the arc, where he hit a paltry 40% of his 2-point attempts this past season. Allen averaged just 11 points per 40 minutes last year, which would be uninspiring for even the best defensive specialists (which Allen is not) in the NCAA.
Allen's lack of strength, below average athleticism and poor wingspan are all major hindrances in this area. He doesn't always have the explosiveness to finish what he creates for himself around the basket, and also lacks a degree of toughness, which will make his emergence as an outside shooter all the more important.
Just as important will be Allen's ability to defend his position at the next level, something that currently appears to be something of a struggle. He possesses just an average frame, and does not compensate for that with great length, technique or lateral quickness.
He struggles to get in a low stance on the perimeter, which makes it difficult for him to cover ground against the more talented shot-creators and athletes he faces, even if his effort level is usually solid. It's not rare to see him getting blown off the dribble when switched onto smaller players, and the poor rate in which he generates blocks, steals and rebounds doesn't do much to ease those concerns.
Overall, with just a 6'8 wingspan and just 215 pounds on his frame, Allen doesn't quite look the part of a true NBA prospect on either end of the ball yet. His shooting, while fair, isn't good enough to make him specialist at the next level and his defense will struggle to translate in a more physical NBA if he's tasked with defending on the interior.
Nevertheless, Allen will be put in a situation to have a strong senior year at Stanford and with improved shooting and better defense will certainly get looks going into the pre-draft process. If he doesn't make the cut, his Hungarian passport will give him an opportunity to have a long and fruitful career in Europe where his skill-set and versatility will surely be valued.